By Jaida Campbell, Crosswalk.com
Psalm 17:8 says, “Guard me as you would guard Your own eyes. Hide me in the shadow of Your wings.” As we leave behind last year and move into this new year, it can be a time of new beginnings, and I don’t know about you, but a new beginning sounds refreshing and revitalizing. Let’s begin in the right place emotionally, mentally, and of course, spiritually.
As we look into the Word, the Psalms are a great place to start. In Psalm 17:8, the definition of guard in this context means to watch over in order to protect; to protect against harm or damage. In times of uncertainty, confusion, hurt, and despair, the Lord is the One to call on, to depend on, the One that we can rely on because of His faithfulness. As we begin this new year, it is time to reflect on the past year and determine what we might do differently coming into the new year. You can call them New Year’s Resolutions, New Year’s Goals, or New Beginnings, but it all comes down to whether we want to learn from the previous year and move forward stronger from it or live in the past and continue in fear and frustration.
We can learn from the psalmist here and hide under God’s protective wings. These wings can give us shelter, protection, peace, and a place to sing for joy. Our God is there for us and is waiting for us to come to Him and hide under His wings. It is our responsibility to take ourselves there for the promises that God has for us in the covenant that He made with us.
Here are five things you can experience under His wings this year:
A Place to Hide
Psalm 17:8 says, “Guard me as you would guard Your own eyes. Hide me in the shadow of Your wings.” When I was a kid with two brothers and lots of kids my age in my neighborhood, we loved to find places to hide. We had some woods behind our house, and we would go back there and build a “fort” with sticks and boards. We would hang out with our friends and do nothing, but it gave us that feeling of protection and security. It was our special place where we could be ourselves without anyone bothering us, judging us, or making us do chores, haha. Of course, it was not safe from actual harm, but it was our own, and it felt comfortable and secure. God wants us to feel that way under the shadow of His wings.
Whether you feel like you have something to hide from or you just want a place to feel comfortable and secure, God is there waiting for you to curl up under His wings and feel His presence. Being in His presence gives us that sense of belonging and the pleasures that come with that. Ps 16:11 says, “You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.”
A Place to Dwell
This brings me to the next point, which is to dwell in the shadow of His wings. Psalm 61:4 in the NIV says it this way, “Let me live forever in your sanctuary, safe beneath the shelter of your wings!” A dwelling is a place to live, not visit. Our homes are where we live day to day and are considered permanent. A vacation place is where we stay for a short time. God wants us to dwell, to live day to day, permanently under the shadow of His wings. To live forever in His sanctuary, not to visit every once in a while or once a year like a vacation, but to live every day, every moment under the shadow of His wings, to have that safe place, that sanctuary.
The NKJV says in that same verse, “I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings.” To abide means to dwell, and it also says trust in the shelter, to know that you are safe there. God calls us to Him, to His presence, to the shadow of His wings so that we can have fellowship with Him, to get to know Him, to learn to trust His character.
A Place of Protection
Psalm 57:1 in the NLT says, “Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy! I look to you for protection. I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings until the danger passes by.” This means to take refuge during a storm, during a bad situation. This is more specific than in the first point. David wrote this during the time he fled from Saul, and David and his men were hiding in a cave in I Samuel 22:1. Everyone in distress, in debt, and discontented was with David in that cave. Bad things happen in this world, and this psalm reminds us that we must have the confidence that He is our deliverer, our protector, and our shield. Does it mean that nothing bad is ever going to happen to us? No, but we can hide under the shadow of His wings. It evens says, “until the danger passes by.” What an encouragement that He will be with us through the whole ordeal, whatever that may be!
A Place for Shelter
Look what it says in Psalm 36:7-9 in the NLT, “How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings. You feed them from the abundance of your own house, letting them drink from your river of delights. For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see.”
All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of His wings, and with that shelter, we receive several things. 1) Sustenance from the abundance of God’s own house; provision that will satisfy our hunger. 2) Our thirst quenched from His river of delights, rivers of living water. 3) He is the fountain of life, and fountain of life has another reference to a fountain springing up into everlasting life. He gives us eternal life. And 4) He gives us the light by which we see. The Word is that light.
A Place to Sing
Last but certainly not least, we can sing under the shadow of His wings. If we are trusting Him by dwelling under the shadow, seeking protection and shelter, and being able to be in peace because we are under the shadow of His wing, we can sing for joy. Psalm 63:7, “Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.” David wrote this when he was in the wilderness (desert) of Judah. David was spending time in the presence of the Father to gain strength to continue to battle for his life against his personal enemies. It is not clear, but it is either when he is constantly eluding Saul in I Samuel 23 or eluding his son Absalom in II Samuel 15 where he goes to a dry place.
No matter what is going on in our lives, whether we are overwhelmed with the trials of life or a specific dilemma we find ourselves in, we can sing for joy under the shadow of His wings. When I think of the shadow of His wings, I picture shade, a cooler place, a peaceful place. We can dwell there, be safe and protected there; we can hide there and know He is with us, and we can sing there too.
Jaida Campbell is a mother of three grown sons, a grandmother of three grandkids, a former pastor’s wife, author, educator, mentor, and world-traveling missionary. She graduated from Rhema Bible College in Supportive Ministries and Tennessee Tech University in Education. She taught middle school math for 13 years and now mentors at-risk students in middle school. During her school breaks, when not visiting her grandkids, she is traveling somewhere in the world to minister to the hopeless, the hurting, and the hungry. Check out her first self-published book, Live Like Royalty, which can be found here.